State And Regional

‘The public deserves transparency;’ Ohio Senators, EPA visit East Palestine

EAST PALESTINE — The head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and both Ohio’s U.S. Senators visited East Palestine Thursday and listened to hundreds of residents and their concerns.

>>PHOTOS: Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous materials derails outside of Detroit

News Center 7′s Kayla McDermott said both Sherrod Brown and J.D. Vance are pushing for help from F.E.M.A.

Each said residents in Northeast Ohio are leaving their homes and are scared for their health because of the train derailment on February 3.

Both senators agreed the people of East Palestine cannot be forgotten about.

They said help is needed to get rid of the waste left over by the derailment, which can come from federal aid.

>>Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous materials derails outside of Detroit

Senator Brown sent a letter to Governor Mike DeWine Thursday calling on him to officially to declare a disaster in East Palestine and seek the full support of the federal government.

“A man-made disaster of this scale, scope, and significance necessitates a response and deployment of resources that are commensurate in scale and scope,” he wrote.

The White House said they are deploying teams from Health Human Services and the CDC, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday.

>>DeWine requests federal assistance for East Palestine train derailment

Senator Vance said crews should be sent east but thinks the train company, Norfolk Southern, should be held accountable.

“I certainly want to see federal aid, while not letting Norfolk Southern off the hook,” he said. “This is a very delicate dance here, but we need to make sure the company that is liable for this actually pays up, while ensuring people actually get the resources they need.”

McDermott says both Ohio Senators were not the only ones in East Palestine Thursday. The Ohio EPA was there was well as part of the federal government.

“The public deserves transparency,” said Michael S. Regan, EPA administrator. “The public deserves to have the latest information, and so it’s our jobs as the federal government to hold this company accountable, and I promise you, we will.”

>>NE Ohio train derailment: Experts explain why the Miami Valley’s water is safe

Senator Brown also voiced concerns about the quality of water and air in East Palestine and surrounding it in his letter to Governor DeWine.

“I remain concerned about the release of hazardous materials into the air, surface, and groundwater across the region,” he said.

McDermott reports even though environmental officials have cleared the water and air in East Palestine, people remain skeptical, according to Senator Vance.

“I would like to believe that is true,” he said. “I have been here and it doesn’t smell great to me.”

>>‘We should know when we have trains carrying hazardous materials,’ Gov. DeWine says

People across the Miami Valley want to know how it can impact them here in the Miami Valley.

“I would definitely be concerned about wildlife,” said Carrie Booker.

“What can it definitely do to us?” asked Aleisha Williamson.

Water experts said there is nothing people here in the Miami Valley have to worry about.

“Not only too far away, but we also drain in a different direction,” said Sarah Hippensteen Hall, manager of Watership Partnerships. “So, the water that’s draining off that site is not coming to us.”

>>‘Why did this happen;’ Both Ohio Senators issue statements following NE Ohio train derailment

Air experts say the air quality is also not a problem here mainly because of the direction our winds blow.

“At this time, there has not been any concern for the air here in the Montgomery County area,” said Dan Suffoletto, Public Information Manager, Public Health Dayton and Montgomery County. “Air is flowing in a different direction. Generally, the air flows easterly.”

McDermott reports the Ohio EPA has not contacted them for monitoring in our area if that changes, they would be ready.